the last decades, the degree and intensity of artificial light at night has increased to
such an extent that no-one can deny its present-day negative effects on habitats and
species. A distinction must be made between the consequences of "astronomical light
pollution", which affects vision of the night sky considered as part of the
landscape, and "ecological light pollution", referring to alteration of natural
light regimes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Extensive information is now available on the effects of artificial
lighting on certain migratory species guided by star-light, or concerning such obvious
phenomena as the mass mortality through dehydration suffered by certain sea turtles
disorientated by light on their home beaches. But the spreading out of artificial light
into the natural environment has other, obvious or less known, consequences. Among them,
the noteworthy alteration of ascent and descent cycles of marine plankton, affecting the
feeding of marine species, or the undesirable effects on population balance in certain
species. Artificial light disturbance on the huge nocturnal insect fauna should be
Protected nature areas, by definition, are preferential spaces
where natural nocturnal light protection initiatives should be developed. To this end,
emblematic spaces such as Biosphere Reserves and Ramasar sites can actually play an
important role as laboratories.
Here below are listed some references on this new dimension of
ecosystem, species and natural landscape protection:
NPS Night Sky Team (USA)
The NPS Night Sky Team was formed in 1999 to address
increasing alarm over the loss of night sky quality throughout the network of US National
Parks. The Night Sky Team functions as a center of expertise that provides advice,
guidance, and technical support in characterizing and preserving park lightscapes.
A "Natural Lightscape" is a place or environment characterized by the natural
rhythm of the sun and moon cycles, clean air, and of dark nights unperturbed by artificial
light. Natural lightscapes, including dark night skies, are not only a resource unto
themselves, but are an integral component of countless park experiences.
Parks Canada is working towards the
control of outdoor lighting and the reduction of light pollution in national parks, and
endorses the needs for protection of nocturnal ecology and for more science in that
field. Parks Canada manages the national parks which are the core areas of several
Canadian biosphere reserves, and also provides the Canadian secretariat of the Biosphere
Ecolight Life-EU Project
L'Albufera Nature Park, Valencia
project implemented in the framework of the EU's LIFE programme, to fight against
artificial lighting pollution in L'Albufera Nature Park (Valencia-Spain).
Dark Sky Parks and Preserves (IDA)
The IDA (International Dark Sky Association) has promoted a large range of activities
related with night sky protection in several protected areas.
Torrance Barrens - Dark Sky Reserve
The Torrance Barrens is a Conservation Reserve consisting of 1990 hectares of crown land
south-east of Bala, which is administered by the Province of Ontario. The first of its
kind in Canada, the Torrance Barrens is now officially recognized as a Dark Sky Reserve.
The dark sky designation was a project was developed by Muskoka Heritage Foundation.
of mortality of Caretta caretta in the Greek seas
(EC Life Project)
Throughout the project, Archelon was very vigilant about
activities that might have a negative impact on the coastal
habitat and/or the species. For example, actions towards
beach cafes also took place to avoid sound and light
particularly at night, and municipal light sources
disorienting hatchlings were reduced, with some public and
private light sources turned off, particularly during the
ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece...>
The Urban Wildlands Group
The Urban Wildlands Group is dedicated to the conservation
of species, habitats, and ecological processes in urban and
Fatal Ligth Awareness Programme
Programa de protección de especios migratorias de los
efectos de la luz artificial.
Lighting Ordinance for marine turtle protection.
The state of Florida developed a model lighting ordinance
(62B-55, Florida Administrative Code) to guide local
governments in creating lighting ordinances.
Sites in Canada
Parks Canada and the RASC have created two designations:
Dark Sky Preserve and Dark Sky Reserve. A Dark Sky Preserve
is one with very dark skies and virtually no sky glow on the
horizon. A Dark Sky Reserve has some sky glow visible from
within the area and some fully shielded lighting (but at
minimal illumination levels).
Plight with Light Project
The Office of the Tyrolean Ombudsman for the Environment in
spring 2000 to launch a project called “The Plight with
Light” (original German title: “Die Helle Not”). The initial
goal was to protect the night-active moths in the Tyrol. As
an active contribution to the protection of the species.
Hatchling Misorientation on Urban Beaches
of Broward County, Florida:
Effects of Lighting Ordinances and Decreased Nest
Michele Blackburn, Curtis Burney and Louis Fisher
Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, Dania
Beach. Broward County Environmental Protection Department
Biological Resources Division Marine Section.
Other related initiatives and
Ecology of the Night...>
Dark Skies Protection
and Boreal Forest Conservation...>
Arches National Park
Save our Stars!!...>
Dark Sky Campaign. Region of Murcia...>
Potawatomi Wildlife Park...>
The Threat to wildlife
Potawatomi Wildlife Park
(Dark Sky Preserve)...>
Lake Hudson State Park (Dark
National Dark Sky Sanctuary (Ontario, Canada)...>
Parc Naturel Régional du
Gâtinais français (FR)...>
SCOTOBIOLOGY - The Science of Dark-Dependent Biological
© Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, Inc.